Navratri is a period of nine days when several Indian women observe a fast by eating only a certain set of foods. In general, also fasting involves cutting out certain types of foods from your diet. Irrespective of the reason of fasting, one thing that tends to be a common feature is acidity. Now that women are ready to do observe the Navratri fast from October 15 to 24 this year, they should take care of what they eat to keep acidity at bay. Read on to find out how to avoid acidity during fasting this Navratri.
What is fasting?
Fasting is the voluntary abstention from food or certain types of food for a specific period, says Ekta Singhwal, Dietician, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. It is practiced for various reasons, including religious, spiritual or health purposes. During fasting, people refrain from consuming regular meals and often limit their intake to specific foods or liquids. For instance, Navratri is all about keeping any kind of meat, lentils, alcohol and wheat flour out of the diet, and eating vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cucumber.
How fasting affects your health
Fasting can have an impact on your metabolism, gut health and weight, so its effects on health can be both positive and negative. The impact depends on the type and duration of fasting. Short-term fasting may improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss and support autophagy (cellular repair), explains the expert. However, prolonged or extreme fasting can lead to nutrient deficiencies and muscle loss, among other things.
How to avoid acidity during fasting?
Fasting can sometimes lead to acidity or heartburn due to increased stomach acid production in response to an empty stomach. It can be exacerbated by consuming acidic or spicy foods during non-fasting hours. Also, irregular eating patterns during fasting can disrupt digestion. Here’s what to do:
1. Choose non-acidic foods
Go for non-acidic foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains during non-fasting hours. That means fruits such as watermelon, papaya and banana can be your friends while fasting.
Drinking a good amount of water can help to lose weight, as water can increase satiety and give a boost to your metabolic rate. Staying hydrated can also help to maintain stomach pH and prevent acidity.
3. Avoid spicy foods
Spicy and fried foods taste really good, but try not to have them while fasting, as they can trigger acidity.
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4. Small and frequent meals
Sometimes during fasting, people eat large meals in one go, and that’s not really a good idea. Have small and balanced meals instead of large ones more frequently to prevent overeating and acidity.
Over-the-counter antacids may provide some relief if acidity becomes problematic, but consult a doctor before using them regularly, says Singhwal.
Healthy ways to do fasting during Navratri
Navratri goes on for nine days, so you should keep some things in mind while fasting. Here are some tips:
• Include a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts to ensure you get essential nutrients.
• Drink plenty of water and some herbal teas as well so that you don’t get dehydrated while fasting.
• Practice portion control to avoid overeating when breaking the fast.
• Minimise consumption of deep-fried and high-fat foods.
• Plan balanced meals that provide energy and keep you full during fasting hours.
But make sure to consult with a doctor before beginning any fasting regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions, to ensure it’s safe and suitable for you.